Fidelity Restates Support for SMEs, Holds Forum August 7th

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Hamid Ayodeji

Fidelity Bank Plc has once more announced its planned collaboration with PwC Nigeria to empower small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) in the country.

To this end, the bank disclosed that its SMEs Funding Connect Forum will hols in Lagos on August 7th, 2019.

At the forum, the bank would offer N2 million grant to an entrepreneur that would present the best business plan. Its collaboration with PwC would also see that business owners that attend the forum are provided mentorship opportunities as well as other capacity building initiatives.

The Chief Executive Officer of Fidelity Bank, Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo, said this when he featured on the ‘Fidelity SME Forum,’ on Inspiration FM radio, yesterday.

Okonkwo, who was represented by the Executive Director Shared Services and Products, Fidelity Bank, Mrs. Chijioke Ugochuckwu, pointed out that apart from well-known infrastructural challenges SMEs face, the number one feedback the bank had gotten was funding.

This, she was a critical factor to the success of any business.

Ugochukwu added: “Fidelity Bank is driven to help SMEs get capital which is a huge part of what we do. We are clear in our minds that due to the fact that SMEs produce 50 per cent of the country’s GDP and accounting for about a third of the eligible work force, that impactful programmes targeted at SMEs would go a long way to improving and sustaining our economy.

“We have invested a lot of resources into capacity building as we have had 200 episodes of programmes such as this (the radio programme), so when we are through in Lagos we are taking it to Uyo and Ibadan in a few months.”

On his part, the Divisional Head, Managed SMEs, Fidelity Bank, Osaigbovo Omorogbe, said the event would focus on funding, based on the relationship between Fidelity Bank and SMEs.

“We realise that in addition to capacity issues, funding is also a major issue. Funding solves a lot of challenges SMEs go through, depending on the state of development of the start-up, cost of the funding and structure of the funding which led to us creating a platform where the supply and demand stakeholders can meet so as to have conversations that would lead to ultimate funding decisions by the funders.

“If you are an SME that is in the agricultural, healthcare, education, technology, entertainment, lifestyle you are the sort of entrepreneur we are looking forward to link up with at the event.

“It is a pre-registered event, thus SMEs are expected to register prior to the event at Landmark event centre on the 7th of August, he added.”

Also, the partner Experience Centre and Emerging Technologies Leader at PwC, Femi Osinubi said, “SMEs are the bedrock of any economy including Nigeria. This initiative helps attain the SDGs which PwC is about. We have created an experience centre to support this initiative which would be the home of innovation and experiential technology; we are going to bring the SMEs into our centre to test the business ideas and them help develop them into the next level.”